First, from the BBC page about today:
Labour say their rivals’ plans amount to a “coalition of cuts for children” as parties try to focus on policy after days of debate about a hung parliament. Labour will attack Lib Dem plans to axe child trust funds and Tory proposals to scale back child tax credits. The Conservatives will focus on the “broken society” saying a “stew” of crime, addiction, anti-social behaviour and poverty affects millions of people.
And the Lib Dems will promise nurses a greater say in how the NHS is run.
Labour: why fiscal arithmetic can be dodged, if only you can assert it loudly enough. Conservatives: hysterical and inaccurate about Broken Britain (can they remember 1995). A single paragraph explaining what makes me uncomfortable about either of them ruling alone.
And to show my astonishing lack of bias, here is a campaign I cannot join. Fiscal arithmetic reaches everywhere, and claiming an equity stake on the future earnings of graduates through a time-limited income-contingent deferred-paid fee for an education that tends to provide huge benefits to the individual in the modern economy, is almost ideal right now.
Interesting 4 year old post from Brad DeLong about whether CPI inflation overstates things, because the rapid price falls in the early periods of innovation are missed out. I think this is another reason why the well-off (like me) think things are improving faster than the badly off; people who have larger disposable incomes experience the trends affecting things like computers, iPods, international travel, etc much more than those at the bottom, and use them to inform experience. Obvious, I know, but good to see some economic theory behind it!
Aditya Chakraborrty at the Guardian asks if Tories are from Mars, Lefties from Venus. I find this very interesting in the light of my reading of Sandel, who has reached the point in the book where he insists that our moral choices need to be situated in the ‘story’ we tell of ourselves – favouring an Aristotelian approach in some ways. Here is Aditya:
Conservatives also worry a bit about fairness and harm, according to the Virginia researchers, but they are much more concerned with three other criteria: loyalty to a group (patriotism is traditionally a Conservative virtue), respect for social order and purity. The further out you place yourself on right or left, the less likely you are to share any moral sentiments with someone on the opposite wing
And ends with this observation:
If nothing else, the work of Haidt and his colleagues might encourage British politicians to be more open about the moral choices that go into their policies. Brown bangs on about his “moral compass” but he hardly ever talks explicitly about how that affects his decisions.
As a liberal, I am obviously uncomfortable with ideas of the ‘good’ imposing on politics – but as a human being, I notice it all the time. Since liberals happen to be humans, I need to reconcile my liking for virtue-approaches with liberalism – some time. Don’t ask me to today – I have to prepare for a TV thing on banking.
Finally, skimming Rachel Sylvester in the Times, I find this paragraph most significant,. in the light of the Killing the Labour Party debate:
With ten days to go, the election is still extraordinarily open. It is too soon to write off the party that has been in power for the past 13 years. Potentially, however, the situation is even worse for Labour than it was for the Conservatives in 1997 — because there is an increasingly viable alternative to it on the centre Left
There really wasn’t an alternative to the Conservatives on the right; that dream of killing them off was always going to founder on the rock of their 30% core votes (and on how as people get older, I bet they get more Tory. Someone look it up please. …) But for Labour? Could someone do some empirical research internationally – is a union-dominated left party always in 2nd or 1st position? Very curious. And in the light of my Cif piece yesterday, isn’t this interesting:
Our performance in the campaign is the symptom of a wider problem — which is that there’s no clear sense of purpose any more,” one former Cabinet minister says.
Forgive her for wheeling out that dreadful Caleidescope-shaken cliche – I’m seeing things differently all the time.